These little piggies went to Hudson

Mar. 21, 2014 @ 05:06 PM

Eyeballs rolled -- across the table.

Brains split in half.

Heads were chopped off.

And Hudson Middle School students squealed with excitement as they sliced and diced fetal pigs in their biology class Thursday.

The halls nearby reeked of formaldehyde. In the classrooms, groups of four gathered around a tray full of juices and dead pig on its back, its legs splayed out to expose its belly. Volunteers from Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, including Mark Bodnar and Kelsey Toliver, coached the students through the assignment. Bodnar reached into a pig’s skull and lifted out the brain, cut it in half with scissors and held it out in his gloved hand, showing the students the different lobes. Sadly, he was unable to get to the cerebellum, because there was no scalpel available.

“I wanted to show them the ‘tree of life,’” Bodnar said, referring to the cerebellum. “But, these scissors aren’t going to work.”

Biology teacher Tonya Amelia and her co-workers, Laura Beck and Tammy Knight, bought the pigs with a $1,053 grant from the Education Foundation of Caldwell County as part of learning the story of the human body -- Amelia said that pigs' systems are similar to humans’, certainly more than cats and frogs, the other animals commonly dissected in school labs. Even the skin of pig is almost equivalent to a man’s.

Amelia added that it is important for the kids to have a hands-on learning experience such as dissection. By moving through the pig’s body, students can see up close how the body works. It also provides a day of excitement and fun, a day of putting on safety goggles and diving into science.